Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Recently, when the court was hearing the plea to criminalize marital rape, a recent example of heteropessimism has come into forefront when a man goes on Twitter and writes #MarriageStrike and it's trending all over.

Actually, the men above 18 years of age were not charged if they entered into non-consensual sex with their wives. But this leads to a downplay in the voice of the female in sexual relationships which is unconstitutional as the petitioners for criminalising marital rape have argued. The feminists started to rejoice when the court moves ahead in taking steps to criminalise marital rape. Men are saying that they will not marry if the females are given an upper hand in such private affairs. Their prime fear is that women will misuse this power to falsely implicate men. Hence on Twitter, the debate has turned out as, 'Feminists Vs Save Men'. By calling for a #MarriageStrike, the men in the society are requesting the courts not to give them the status of secondary citizens and calling for as many laws for women. 

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

What is Heteropessimism?

  • Heteropessimism can be defined as public declarations of dissatisfaction with heterosexual relationships, by people who continue to be in those relationships.

  • Ever heard a woman talking about the fall of romance in a relationship or a man saying that he wants to leave everything behind and go off to the mountains. There can be chances that such spouses may be suffering from it.

  • The term 'Heteropessimism' was coined in 2019 by American gender theorist, Asa Seresin who described it as, 'Performative disaffiliations with heterosexuality, usually expressed in the form of regret, embarrassment or homelessness about the straight experience. Actually, these affiliations are rarely accompanied by the actual abandonment of heterosexuality.

  • To put it very simply, the realization for heterosexual people that dating is really hard and the hard-won prize of marriage is not what it was touted to be can lead to disillusionment from romantic relationships.

  • Here, the disillusionment works at two levels- the simple realization that the first flush of romance does not last, and the deeper structural problems of heterosexual relationships, which stem from patriarchy, gender inequality and unfair burden of housework on women, and the pressure of provider and protector roles on men. In such cases, Heteropessimism serves as anesthesia that numbs you to the actual pain of unfulfilling relationships.

  • Women are more hurt due to heartbreaks or the patriarchal structure. Men also get hurt when they are also cheated either too. All these things can lead to the conclusion that heterosexual relationships are a doomed project not designed for any meaning to serve. Yet, one cannot run away from it as you can't find any other option furthermore in the craving for the safety of being considered 'normal'. Hence, Heterosexuality relationships have become a prison for many.

  • The causes of heteropessimism lay deeper. Traditionally marriage between the 'provider' and the 'homemaker' has made the working of relationships harder, only to sustain an exploitative system of the past- as opposed to other more egalitarian, boundary-pushing bonds.

  • Problems are flooding in as the traditional marriage roles have been defied by the modern tenets in culture. It leads to violent or harmful relationships. It's pervasive nature for disappointment, ambivalence, or disinterest.

Lastly, the process to bring safety, equality and romance can only begin with an honest conversation with parents only if we slam pessimism and believe in the promise of a better future.

"The beauty of marriage is not always seen from the very beginning- but rather as love grows and develops over time" - Fawn Weaver.

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